Homily for May 4

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Homily for the Third Sunday of Easter
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

(This weekend at the Saturday 5:00 and the Sunday 9:30 Masses we welcomed children to the altar for their First Communion. You'll see that my homily addresses them and their guests as well as the whole community.) 

What an amazing story, boys and girls!

These two followers of Jesus are going home to Emmaus
and they’re sad because just a few days before,
they had seen Jesus die on the Cross.

They were so sad that when Jesus joined them,
walking along on the road,
they didn’t even recognize that it was him!
Does that seem hard to believe?
Is it hard to believe that Jesus could be right there with them,
talking to them, and they didn’t realize it was him?
I don’t think that’s hard to believe
because I think it happens all the time!

Jesus is always with us.
• He’s at the foot of you bed in the morning,
waiting for you to wake up.
• He sits next to you when you’re having your breakfast
and he’s right beside you on your way to school.
• He spends the whole day with you whatever you’re doing.
• He’s so close to you
that when you help someone else along the way,
you’re helping Jesus.
• He’s so close to you
that when you hurt someone else along the way,
you’re hurting Jesus.
• And he’s so close to you
that when you need a friend to talk to,
he’s already listening for what you have to say.

But like the two guys on the road to Emmaus,
sometimes we’re so sad, or so busy, or so happy, or so selfish
that we don’t even see Jesus walking along with us.
He’s there but we don’t recognize him, we miss him.
And it’s the same for me, too, girls and boys.
And it’s the same for all the grown-ups
praying with us here this morning.
We believe that the Risen Jesus is everywhere,
but we go for days or weeks or months or years 
without seeing him,
right by our side.

But do you remember what happened in the story in the gospel?
As the two men walked along,
even though they didn’t recognize Jesus,
he was talking to them, teaching them,
speaking to their hearts.
And when they got home they invited Jesus to come in for dinner
and he sat down at their table with them.
And the gospel tells us that he took bread,
he said the blessing,
he broke the bread,
and he gave it to them. 
And when Jesus did that, as he had done for them before,
they recognized him – they knew it was Jesus!
But then, as quickly as they had come to recognize Jesus,
he vanished from their sight.

And then the two guys remembered everything Jesus had told them
as they’d been walking together with him all day.
Because they had recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread,
they were able to see him more clearly in the rest of the day.

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We come to Church on Sundays, often after a whole week
of missing Jesus, not seeing him, in our day-to-day lives.
We come here to listen to Jesus speak to us in the scriptures,
just as he spoke to the two men in the story we just heard.
And right here, at this altar, at this table,
we remember how Jesus took bread,
said the blessing,
broke the bread,
and gave it to his friends at the Last Supper,
on the night before he died. 

And Jesus will take bread here this morning,
and bless it, 
and break it 
and give it to you and to all of us in Communion
so that we, too, can come to know Jesus
in the breaking of the bread.

This is a great story for us to hear this morning, boys and girls,
as you receive Communion for the first time.
AND, it’s a great story
for us older girls and boys to hear this morning,
to remind us of how often we miss Jesus in our daily lives,
even when he’s right beside us
and to remind us of how important it is
to come to the table with Jesus,
not at the end of the day, but at the end of one week
and the beginning of a new week,
to listen to Jesus speak to us in the scriptures
and to meet him in the breaking of the bread.

Your parents and families and friends have made a big deal of this day,
boys and girls, your “First Communion Day.”
I hope and pray they’ll do everything they can
to make sure that you come back next Sunday
for your Second Communion Day, and then your third,
and your fourth, and then...
well, you have a lot of Communion days ahead of you.

Somebody older drove the car that got you here today,
girls and boys, but really, it was YOU
who brought a lot of people to Church today,
to hear the Lord’s Word and to meet him
in the Breaking of the Bread.

May what we celebrate here today open our eyes
to Jesus walking alongside us, every day this week
and may the Lord Jesus who walks by our side
bring us back to his table next Sunday.


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